A version of this article appears in the January/February 2020 issue of Good Old Boat Magazine.
Batteries are heavy. In a sailboat they are best positioned low and near the centerline of the boat and in a battery box. In other words, in some not easily accessible space. Most batteries destined for the marine market have handles or straps on them so they can be easily, well sort of easily, removed and replaced.
Many sailors have opted for batteries not specifically targeted for the marine market. Second Star and other sailboats destined for a cruising life often use 6v golf cart batteries. Wired in a series parallel circuit, GC batteries provide more electrical power for the money than standard Group 27 or 31 batteries. Designed for the demands of electric golf carts, GC batteries do not have straps or handles, rather the case has two ears to which a lifting strap is attached. The strap, made of thick rubber with steel hooks on each end, quickly connects to the ears allowing the battery to be lifted. The straps are inexpensive, readily available on Amazon.com, and most important, they work; except they come with an expiration date.
Last October Nick Hayes published a column, Imagine a PHRF System that is Fair, on the Sailing Magazine website. As an infrequent reader of Sailing Magazine I stumbled upon the column sometime after it was published and made a comment referencing the articles I have on this website. After posting I checked back for comments a couple of times, found none, and the column fell off my radar. Until the other day when I noticed one of my articles had an unusually large number of hits. Sure enough, there had been a few comments. Let me respond to them here.
Nick was the first to comment. He wrote, “I read your recommendations as a call for more information on more dimensions and continuous collection (review.)” If handicaps were based on a skipper/boat dimension that is based on actual performance, then less information is needed. The key information is the boat’s performance relative to other boat’s in the race. Each boat in the race has a handicap that is independent of the ratings of other boats but is dependent on how each boat in the race performs. Because each boat/skipper combination is unique, how the boat is equipped or not simply doesnot matter. What matters is how well the skipper sails the boat he has. If a skipper sails his boat as well or better than usual, the boat will finish higher in the fleet. Conversely, if the sails poorer than usual, the boat will finish lower in the fleet. That is the beauty of an individual handicap, the race becomes a matter of how well you sail the boat you have and not how deep your pockets are or how much time is spent in the yard long boarding the bottom.
You might be thinking paddling videos are nice, but what about sailing? After all the site is about a sailboat and sailing adventures. Well, I’m working on them. We did sail this summer, heading to Dutch John Bay on Stony Island and then off to Cape Vincent and a couple of Canadian Islands. Editing the footage and putting together the story takes time, while a short paddling video is much easier to create, the story line is clear and the footage short.
It was early October and Second Star was waiting for her haulout date. Stripped of sails and running rigging her season was over. The day dawned overcast and drizzling with a forecast of warmth and sun in the afternoon, a great day for an afternoon paddle. In the rain we set off for Lakeview Wildlife Management Area to paddle on South Sandy Creek.
Sometimes it is hard to believe that its been five years since we first saw Second Star on the hard in Buffalo. Susan and I had been talking about a larger boat for a few years with plans to sail out the St. Lawrence and down the east coast to winter in the Bahamas. Shortly after buying her I started a version of this website to chronicle our adventure and share what we learn about boats, traveling, and ourselves. We had a good start out of the box, but then the website began to languish. As it will do, life got in the way of life.
To answer the big question, yes we still plan to take our trip, we are just uncertain about when. About the time we purchased Second Star, our aging parents required more support. Both of us are from small families thus we needed and still need to care for them. This is one limit to our departure window. The other is our own health and age, we aren't getting younger.